Please note our Agribusiness Innovation Grants (AIG) are currently closed, having reached our AIG programme budget at our November 2023 Board Meeting. Applications will re-open from July 1st 2024 and submissions for our next funding round must be received by 5pm 20 August 2024.

The objective of the Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG) is to encourage and support industry sectors and businesses to develop and implement innovative solutions to assist with transformational change within agribusiness value chains. The focus of the AIG grant is the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors. The Agribusiness Innovation Grant provide an opportunity for applicants to:

  1. Pursue ‘on the edge’ ideas that can transform a business or industry.
  2. Accelerate innovation and respond quickly to opportunities that are driven by new ideas or insight arising from the marketplace.
  3. Facilitate and promote collaborative industry innovation across the food & fibres sector.
  4. Gain a better understanding of world class best practices; and
  5. Develop and evaluate innovative ideas to a stage where they can attract other investment for further development through to commercialisation.
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Who can apply?

The applicant must be involved in New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors with a project that will benefit the New Zealand food and fibre Sector.

When can I apply?

Agribusiness Innovation Grant applications are open all year round. Please check our key dates here.

How much can I apply for?

Grants of up to $200,000 (GST inclusive) are available. There are different requirements that will need to be met depending on the size of the total project.

What does AGMARDT invests in?

The Agribusiness Innovation Grants (AIG) categories are as follows:

  1. An early-stage research project, that is exploring an early idea or concept.
  2. A project focussed on developing a Proof of Concept (PoC) i.e., testing the feasibility of an early idea or concept.
  3. A project focussed on developing a prototype i.e., developing a rough model that brings the proof of concept to life.
  4. A project developing a minimum viable product (MVP) i.e., developing a first iteration of the ‘product’ that can be used by others in the real world.
  5. A project about the extension or knowledge transfer of an idea or concept.

FAQs for Agribusiness Innovation Grants

What level of co-funding is required?

  • <$30k – no co-funding
  • $30k+ – at least 40% of TOTAL project costs

What is the management & governance structure requirements?

  • Depending on the nature of the project, the Applicant/Group can be a separate entity, or a collaborative Group of relevant parties.  There are specific requirements for projects with total cost under $100,000 and different requirements for projects over $100,000.  Please refer to our guidelines for details.

Does applying for the <$30k grant preclude someone from applying for a larger grant later on?

  • No, in fact we would encourage this as a next step if early-stage work supported developing the idea further

If my application has been declined, is there a cool down period? How soon can I reapply?

  • There is a 12 month cool down period and applicants may resubmit after 12 months provided the project has changed significantly (modified/updated)
  • If you wish to reapply earlier than 12 months, please contact AGMARDT’s GM to discuss your specific circumstances to understand if a new application would be accepted by the trustees

Who is the “authorised person”?

  • The person filling in the application that AGMARDT will correspond with for the duration of the project

Does AGMARDT fund NPD pipeline research or changes to existing designs / products?

  • Early R&D is supported provided it’s in a new / novel area

Does AGMARDT support extension and delivery (knowledge transfer)?

Generally speaking, AGMARDT does not provide funding for this type of work. However, there are instances where this request may be successful:

  • Does it ignite the future (i.e. does it go beyond the here and now)?
  • Is it cross-sector (i.e. is not specific to one industry)?
  • Is it a new area (e.g. establishing a new system or taking a radical new approach)?

What should I avoid in my application / what doesn’t AGMARDT fund?

  • Capital expenditure (CAPEX) funding e.g. buildings, equipment, web-based products and services, etc
  • Operational funding unless someone is being paid to develop curriculum or commissioned to do specialised work
  • Retrospective funding (costs incurred before the project is approved by the board of trustees)
  • Focus on the here / now (incremental gains) with no link to the long-term future
  • Marketing / branding / comms unless it’s part of a larger innovation programme
  • Anything that can be perceived as ‘business as usual’ (BAU)
  • Projects outside the agribusiness sector
  • Duplicating existing work / reinventing the wheel
  • Duplication of funding assistance (note: applicants must disclose all third-party funding)

Do I need to undertake a market /economic evaluation? How should I answer this in my application?

  • Some applicant groups won’t have completed this work, particularly if they are conducting early concept tests. They would answer this application question in the negative
  • For others, particularly those applying for $30k+ grants some market work has usually been done e.g. identifying the size and scale of the opportunity and potential returns / impact for NZ’s food and fibres sector
  • As a rule of thumb, AGMARDT will expect a better understanding of the market from applicants in “stage 2” $30k+ grant applications vs “stage 1” <$30k grants applications

How should I respond to “evidence of market uptake of materials, industry input and benefit to the food and fibres industry”?

  • AGMARDT is looking to determine whether an idea has support by way of understanding what conversations have taken place and with who
  • The more specific you can be and the stronger the endorsement from others, particularly those within the targeted industry, the better

Who should I include as industry referees?

  • Reputable independents (i.e. people who are not part of your project team or AGMARDT trustees)
  • AGMARDT will be looking to understand referees’ perspectives regarding the level of support for your idea, you and your team
  • Your industry referees must be aware their names have been put forward

Why am I not able to include attachments with my application? Am I able to share supporting documents?

  • The GM and trustees read every application and as such all questions they are looking to have answered should be contained within that document
  • We encourage applicants to write clear, concise and focused applications
  • If you still would like to provide supporting documentation, this can be sent to AGMARDT but there is no guarantee this information will be reviewed

Can I apply for AGMARDT funding to put towards a co-funding requirement for a larger application elsewhere?

  • The short answer is yes, sometimes we receive applications that request funding for a part of a project connected to a larger programme of work / application e.g. MPI’s Sustainable Food and Futures Fibres Fund
  • Please note, there should be no duplication of funding assistance – applicants must disclose all third-party funding

Do you have Word copies available of the applications to work on?

  • Yes, we do have word copies of our application forms available in our portal under the templates tab, for you to draft and work on.
  • Please note that you must cut and paste your responses into the application form on our portal.  These are the only applications we will accept.

Where can I find the reporting templates (Progress and Final)?